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May 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Dear Members and Friends,
Jan Kaminski, a longstanding member of the Irish Polish Society, died on Tuesday, 21 st May. He was
one of the founders of our Society and its first Chairman. He addressed Pope John Paul II on behalf
of the Polish community, on the 30 th of September 1979, in the garden of the Papal Nuncio. He was
an active member of the Society’s committee for many years, until around 2014/15 when his health
seriously deteriorated.
In 1946, Jan arrived as a teenage boy in Great Britain with General Anders’s 2 nd Polish Corps. Helped
by the Polish community in-exile in Britain, he was sent to school and completed his second-level
education. He was granted a scholarship from the Veritas Foundation to study in Ireland. He began
his academic studies initially in Cork, and in 1954 moved to Trinity College Dublin where he studied
economics and political science. He completed his studies with honours and the degree of MA. He
started to work in Dublin as a restaurateur – he bought and ran the first Steak House in Ireland, and
the first night-club. Later he got involved in the travel business and founded the Concorde Travel
Agency. After many years, he sold his very successful business to Joe Walsh Tours and subsequently
retired. However, being an active person, he did not ‘step-down’ completely; he explored some
business opportunities in the construction sector, in Poland and in Germany.
Jan was born in Bilgoraj. It is a small town in south-eastern Poland. Since its foundation in the 16 th
century, an important part of Bilgoraj’s community was Jewish. By the time WW2 broke out, over
half of the town’s population was Jewish. Jan concealed his Jewish identity for many years
(including his name: Chaim Zybner). Up to January 2013, when he gave some recollections during
the Liveline RTE Radio programme on Irish Prisoners of WW2, he had never spoken about his Jewish
background and his extraordinary story of survival as an orphan Jewish child in Nazi occupied
A ceremony to celebrate Jan’s life will take place on Monday, 27 th May, at 10 am in the Victorian
Chapel in Mount Jerome. The family has requested that donations be made to the Alzheimer Society
of Ireland in lieu of flowers.
Our deep sympathy goes out to Jan’s children, Orla, Jadzia, Jas and the grandchildren.…/jan-kaminski-clonskeagh-dublin/388796

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